I wanna wanna, I gonna gonna: a commentator’s critique of Africa’s adoption of western culture


Efio-Ita Nyok|27 February 2017 Nigerian-born, Atlanta-based development economist, social entrepreneur and social commentator, Mr Princewill Odidi, has frowned against Africa's adoption of some questionable western values. Odidi, who last week narrated two remote experiences, opined that when Nigerians copy some occidental cultures/mannerisms they do the 'wrong ones': 'Unfortunately as Nigerians, when we copy we copy the wrong things about America.', he observed. He narrated two incidents where, in the one occasion, wards of his former professor were preparing for studies in the West and their dressing embarrassingly represented that of ghetto lifestyle. In the other incident, he narrated an interaction between him and his old friend in South Africa. Odidi confessed that all through the course of the discussion his old friend would employ such speech mannerisms as —'I wanna wanna… I gonna gonna'. In fact, he couldn't withhold his disappointment! Here him out: 'I ran into my former Professor recently in a Supermarket in Abuja, his little boys I use to know are now grown and getting ready to relocate to the United States for further studies. What caught my attention was how the boys were dressed. Plaited hair, earrings and drop down pants… 'Out of embarrassment I assume, as their father noticed I did not approve his sons dressing, he said, you see, they are beginning to dress like you the Americans. I only responded, do I dress this way? 'Unfortunately as Nigerians, when we copy we copy the wrong things about America. The generality of Americans don't dress this way. This type of pants down, earrings and braids for men is a Prison mentality brought to the streets. You hardly find any responsible Americans dress this way. Most corporate American jobs would not even hire you when you dress this way. I told my Professor, correct your boys now or you will not recognize them when they come back from America… 'I also met an old friend who told me he now stays in South Africa, and all through my conversation with him he kept using slangs like" I wanna wanna, I gonna gonna". At a point during the conversation, I couldn't hold it, I burst out and said," my friend come back home and stop this nonsense". Odidi further highlighted an irony in which it's the children of so-called rich Nigerian parents that imbibe this ghetto lifestyle —dress codes and speech mannerisms. Albeit, he advised that in so far as there's nothing wrong with adopting lifestyles, the onus is on us to imbibe correct ones. His words: 'The irony of this is that, it is the children of the so called rich Nigerians who are copying this ghetto lifestyle… There is nothing wrong to copy the whiteman culture and mannerisms, but if we must do, let's copy the right ones'. Efio-Ita Nyok
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